House GOP passes debt ceiling bill, paving way for showdown with Biden

WASHINGTON — The House narrowly passed a Republican bill on Wednesday to raise key elements of President Biden’s domestic agenda and raise the debt ceiling while cutting spending, a GOP effort by Mr.

Facing his most significant challenge since being elected to office, Speaker Kevin McCarthy did not string together the votes to pass the bill, which was approved 217 to 215 along party lines.

The legislation would raise the debt ceiling by next year — a nearly 14 percent cut — in exchange for last year’s spending freeze for a decade, as well as Mr. Part of Biden’s landmark health, climate and tax law was rolled back, imposing work requirements. Social programs and expanding mining and fossil fuel production.

Even Republicans admit their legislation is going nowhere; Mr. Biden threatened to veto it, and the measure died once it reached the Democratic-led Senate. Without congressional action to raise the debt ceiling, which is expected to be reached as early as this summer, the U.S. government faces a catastrophic default.

But House Republicans, including Mr. As an important step in strengthening their negotiating position against Biden, Mr. McCarthy considered whether he could hold his divided Congress together to pass any financial proposal.

“We raised the credit limit; We have sent it to the Senate; We have done our job,” said Mr. McCarthy announced, pleased with the outcome after a day of slogging Republicans around the plan.

Pushing through the credit limit hike Mr. McCarthy was always going to have a big challenge. Republicans oppose raising the debt ceiling; In the past, many conservative GOP lawmakers in both the House and Senate have left the politically tough vote to Democrats and party leaders.

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On Wednesday, as the last votes were counted, Mr. It was unclear whether McCarthy would win over his fellow Republicans, but party leaders managed to keep their convention largely united after days of hand-wringing and hustling. Four Republicans ultimately voted against the bill; If there are any more flaws, the effort will sink in.

Before the vote in the White House Mr. Biden reiterated that he would not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling.

“I will meet with McCarthy, but not about whether or not the debt ceiling is extended,” he told a news conference, responding to reporters who asked if he wanted to see the speaker. “That’s non-negotiable.”

Nevertheless, Mr. McCarthy pitched the bill as a way to strengthen the party ahead of a showdown with the president. With last-minute changes to the law to appease Midwestern Republicans and the far right, he was able to win the votes of some lawmakers who have routinely voted against raising the statutory debt limit, regardless of which party is in power. Mr. By including provisions in the bill to strip out aspects of Biden’s key anti-inflation legislation and his plan to cancel student loans.

Mr. The internal backlash escalated last month after McCarthy privately mocked his delegation’s efforts.

“The whole purpose of this is to force the president to communicate to Washington, D.C. that Kevin McCarthy has the votes to raise the debt ceiling and that we have shared priorities in all aspects of the Republican convention,” the representative said. Frenchman’s Hill, Arkansas, McCarthy’s associate.

Still, if anything, the process of pushing through the measure highlights deep divisions among Republicans on fiscal matters. Privately pleading with his colleagues to support the bill, Mr. McCarthy repeatedly told them to ignore the substance of the measure, which would never become law, and instead Mr. Focus on the symbolic success of passing any legislation to show that they are serious about Biden. A request for cost reduction.

Republican leaders drew political protection from an unusual faction — influential conservatives, including Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, who stood in a closed-door meeting of lawmakers Wednesday to urge his colleagues to vote for the bill.

After a midnight flurry of bargaining to narrow the vote, top officials managed to break through a deadly standoff against the bill, agreeing to roll back a provision to claw back tax credits implemented by the Biden administration. Ethanol and within a year, through 2024, will impose work requirements on Medicaid and food stamp recipients.

In the end, only four right-wing Republicans voted against the legislation, most of Mr. McCarthy will lose and still have to make it happen. They include Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona and Matt Gates of Florida, Mr. McCarthy’s two main opponents were Ken Buck of Colorado and Tim Burchett of Tennessee.

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Mr. Buck said.

“The Democrats’ budget plan is $58 trillion in debt over 10 years,” he said. “The Republican plan creates $53 trillion in debt, and $53 trillion in debt is unacceptable to me. We’re going to go off the cliff at some point.

Democrats attacked the measure as a draconian plan that would hit the most vulnerable Americans with its spending cuts and new work requirements and even veterans programs.

“It’s shameful,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. “This default and cuts bill should not come to this floor even for a vote. Our soldiers sacrificed for us.

Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat and majority leader, dismissed the House bill as a wasted effort, and Mr. Biden and Senate Democrats said they would refuse to negotiate spending until Republicans agreed to pass a debt ceiling increase without conditions.

“The discussion of spending cuts is in the budget talks, not the debt ceiling negotiations,” he said. “The Speaker must abandon brinkmanship, abandon hostage-taking, and come to the table with Democrats to pass a clean bill to avoid default.”

Given Senate Democratic opposition to the House plan, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and Minority Leader, said the final decision would be Mr. Biden and Mr. He said it was in McCarthy’s hands.

“We have a divided government,” he said. “The President and the Speaker must come together and resolve the issue.”

Jonathan Swan And Peter Baker Contributed report.

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